P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.

ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.
New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)

SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.

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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table

India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."


India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place

India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.

The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.

A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.

Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.

Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.

"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.

India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.

Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.

Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.

"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.

Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.

India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.

Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.

Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.

In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.

Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.

Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.

"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.

"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.

There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.

India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.

In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.

The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.

In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).

India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.

In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.

In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.

Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.

At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.

Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.

India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.




India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games

India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.


Jadeja fifty helps India to 297 against WI

Days after being chosen for the Arjuna Award, Ravindra Jadeja played a mature knock of 58 which helped India recover from a top-order collapse and post 297 against the West Indies on Day 2 of the first Test here on Friday.
All-rounder Jadeja, who was batting on 3 at close of play on the first day with Rishabh Pant (20), took 112 balls for his 58 which was studded with six fours and a six as he took the visitors to a competitive first-innings score which looked distant after eight overs in the first session of Day 1.
For West Indies, Kemar Roach was the pick of the bowlers taking four wickets and giving away 66 runs. Shannon Gabriel also returned impressive figures of 3/71.
India were 25/3 with Cheteshwar Pujara (2) and captain Virat Kohli (9) back in the hut before vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (81 off 163 balls; 10x4) steadied the ship with Hanuma Vihari (32) for company. But both batsmen were dismissed before stumps on Day 1, leaving young stumper Pant to do the recovery job with Jadeja.
Pant was out early on the second day for 24, taken at second slip by Jason Holder off Roach's bowling. Jadeja, who brought up his 11th test fifty, was rock solid at one end pacing his innings to perfection and playing responsibly. Ishant Sharma (19) gave him company for a while before he was gone and Mohammed Shami was removed off the first ball by Roston Chase, caught and bowled.
Jadeja then hit Chase for a four through sweeper cover's right to bring up his half-century much to the delight of Kohli who was seen applauding from the stands. He smashed a six off the very next ball but could not take his team past the 300-run mark as a Holder bouncer undid him as he tried to hook the ball but it top-edged to wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
West Indies won the toss and chose to field first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Thursday. 
Brief scores: India 297 (Rahane 81, Jadeja 58, Rahul 44, Roach 4/66) vs West Indies. 

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Sindhu, Praneeth assured of medals in World Championships

B Sai Praneeth (File photo:  (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi/IANS)
B Sai Praneeth (File photo: (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi/IANS)
Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth on Friday ended India's 36-year wait for a medal in the men's section of the BWF World Championships by sealing his place in the semi-finals of the prestigious event, thereby assuring himself of a bronze medal.
After Prakash Padukone clinched a bronze at the Worlds in 1983, Praneeth quenched India's thirst for an elusive medal by stunning world No. 4 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 24-22, 21-14 in the quarter-finals. 
Praneeth's triumph came a little after P.V. Sindhu assured herself of a fifth World Championships medal as she rallied to beat world No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 for a place in the semifinals, thus keeping alive her hopes of a third straight appearance in the Worlds final. 
Tai Tzu has a superior record against Sindhu, but Sindhu had won in their last meeting in 2018. 
Tai Tzu, who last year claimed Chinese Taipei's first-ever badminton gold at the Asian Games, opened up a 7-point lead and from then on peppered Olympic silver medallist Sindhu with back-to-back smashes.
A brilliant rally saw Tai Tzu maintain her dominance and win the first game 21-12 as Sindhu had no answer to her returns.
The Indian started strongly in the second game, winning her first point with a strong smash. Tai Tzu fought back to take a 5-3 lead before Sindhu levelled the score at 8-8 and then led 11-9 at the break.
The rallies were long and Sindhu even fell to the floor while attempting to return a sharp Tai Tzu shot.
It was a see-saw battle after the breather as both Sindhu and Tai Tzu refused to budge. It was even at 21-21 before Sindhu showed composure and skill to win the game 23-21 to stay afloat.
In the decider, Tai Tzu opened up a 5-2 lead before Sindhu fought back to go into the break trailing 9-11. It was exhilarating badminton from there on as Sindhu took the lead from 15-15 before winning 21-19.
Just a week after being chosen for the Arjuna Award, world No. 19 Praneeth breezed past Christie 24-22, 21-14 in 51 minutes to progress to the semifinals.
Christie earned the first point of the match but after taking a 4-2 lead, he frittered the advantage as Praneeth started to take charge of the proceedings. 
Praneeth went into the break with a slender 11-10 lead and looked more dangerous after the breather to win a close game.
Praneeth was in his elements in the second game, as Christie made a number of mistake. The Indian went into the break with a massive 11-3 advantage as Christie kept gifting him with easy points.
After the break, Christie tried to make a comeback but Praneeth held on with a flurry of smashes to close the deal in his second match point. 
In the semi-final, Praneeth will be up against defending champion and world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan.

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Golf: Diksha Dagar seeks better fortunes with ‘Major’ learning and new equipment

Diksha Dagar, the current runner-up on the Rookie of the Year rankings, is aiming for her second win of the season at the €120,000 Tipsport Czech Ladies Open to be played from 23-25 Aug 2019 at the Golf Resort Karlštejn.
The 18-year-old golfer is the lone Indian representative in the 138 player-strong international field including 50 from Ladies European Tour (LET), 50 from LET Access Series (LETAS), 10 Federation exchanges, 10 promoter LET invites and 18 Czech Golf Federation invites.
Diksha, who suffered from a complete hearing impairment for the first six years of her life, has come a long way, thanks to golf. Aged 16, Diksha had won a Deaflympics Silver medal for India in 2017. Currently, she is 14th on the LET Order of Merit and second on the Rookie list, with a win and a Top 10 – T5th at the NSW Open - under her belt this season.  
Diksha’s last three professional outings include the Major debut at the Evian Championship, followed by the AIG Women’s British Open and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. The experience of playing in the Majors was a great learning experience but she missed the cut in all three.
“The season so far has been good. This year I have played in three huge tournaments including two majors. It was a great experience and I came to know about what I need to do to prepare in future. When I played my first major it was completely different level of golf. It was quite tough,” shared Diksha after her pre-event practice round.
“The courses were very long with thick grass. The greens were pretty fast. The world’s top players were in the field, they hit very long. I need to improve my distance to compete against them. But this experience has made me stronger. It has made me confident that ‘Yes, I can do it!’ I have learned what has to be done to compete at Majors. I have to improve my fitness and it is a crucial part of the game. If I can improve my fitness I can reach the green on a par 5 in two shots easily, which will create birdie opportunities.”
“I also have to improve my putting skills. At the Majors, the greens are tricky and super-fast. The green speed goes around 11 or 12,” she added.
Another big change in her short professional career yet is the change of golf equipment. Diksha, who was earlier using Titleist, has switched to Callaway after the Evian Championship.
“I am using the Epic Flash driver and I have also changed the putter. I have moved to Callaway completely in terms of my golf set,” said Diksha, who is only the second Indian winner on the Ladies European Tour (LET) after Aditi Ashok.
Having tested the waters at a couple of Majors already and with new equipment, Diksha is raring to make an impact at Golf Resort Karlštejn this week where she believes that hole number two is the best hole in the Czech Republic.
“This is a challenging course, lots of up and down. Yesterday, I played the front nine and I did the back nine today. The fairways and greens are soft because of the rain. I also saw the beautiful Karlštejn Castle over the mountain,” added Diksha.
The second ranked player on the Rookie of the Year list, Diksha is also aiming to fight for the Top Rookie honours on the LET.
“I am going to focus on the Rookie of the Year title and I also have to improve my game. Now, I have started doing fitness as well. I remember, from my experiences in National Camps, what needs to be done to increase my strength so I am working on it. For golf, it’s important to strengthen your shoulders and the lower body as well, to get good distance and accuracy.”
“I am also excited that, in a few weeks, I will get to play in my home country, in the Hero Women’s Indian Open. It is going to be fun. I am very confident all Indian girls will finish high at the Women’s Indian Open,” added Diksha before heading off to the putting green.  

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Rahane's rescue act takes India to 203/6 on Day 1

Ajinkya Rahane (File photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Ajinkya Rahane (File photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Ajinkya Rahane led India's efforts as the West Indies held the upper hand on Day 1 of the first Test in Antigua. With pacers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel taking quick early wickets, including those of Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli, India were rescued from a precarious situation by Rahane's 81 off 163 balls and his partnerships with KL Rahul and Hanuma Vihari. As rains brought an early end to the first day, India were 203/6.
West Indies won the toss and chose to field first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Thursday. Mayank Agarwal was Roach's first victim as he edged behind in the fifth over of the day. The umpire didn't raise his finger but Jason Holder went for the review. Replays showed clear contact between bat and ball with the pad nowhere in the picture and Richard Kettleborough had to change his decision. 
In the same over, Roach managed to get an edge off Pujara, who was India's highest scorer in India's series win in Australia earlier in the year. Three overs later, Kohli tried to cut Gabriel over point but ended up looping the ball towards gully. The fielder dove well to take the catch and the top-ranked Test batsman in the world walked back with just nine runs to his name. 
Rahane and Rahul then showed restraint as they weathered out the storm and went about repairing the Indian innings. Rahul was six runs away from his 12th Test half-century when he edged Roston Chase behind and had to walk, his stand with Rahane ending on 68 runs. But Rahane found an able partner in Hanuma Vihari. Vihari was with the India A team that toured West Indies earlier in the month and was at ease with the conditions in the middle. He put up 82 runs with the Indian vice-captain before becoming Roach's third victim of the day. 
Rahane could not see off the day, however. He was surprised by the extra bounce and movement that Gabriel got and ended up chopping on as he looked to punch it on the back foot. At the end of the day, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja were in the middle for India. 
Brief scores: India 203/6 (Rahane 81, Rahul 44, Roach 3/34) vs West Indies.

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Praneeth in quarters, Prannoy loses in BWF World C'ships

India's B Sai Praneeth stunned world no 8 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to progress to the quarter-finals while compatriot H S Prannoy lost at the BWF World Championships here on Thursday.
Praneeth swept aside Ginting of Indonesia 21-19, 21-13 to cap off an amazing performance. Prannoy failed against World No 1 Kento Momota and lost 19-21, 12-21.
Praneeth was on top of his game from the start as he erased a 0-3 deficit to move to a 8-5 lead. He entered the break with an 11-8 advantage.
After the interval, Ginting pulled things back at 14-12 and threatened to stop Praneeth before the Indian got his act together to win the opening game with three straight points from 18-19.
In the second game, Praneeth moved to 6-2 but Anthony made his way to manage an 11-8 lead at the breather. After the break, Praneeth kept marching ahead as Ginting crumbled.

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Rahul, Rahane steady ship; India's top order collapses

K L Rahul (File photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
K L Rahul (File photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel tormented the top order before K. L. Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane steadied the ship to help India reach 68/3 at lunch in the opening Test against the West Indies here on Thursday.
India were reduced to 25/3 with Mayank Agarwal (5), Cheteshwar Pujara (2) and skipper Virat Kohli (9) bat in the hut early. At lunch, Rahul was batting on 37 while Rahane was on 10.
Roach (2/12) bowled a fiery spell to remove Agarwal who was caught behind with replays showing he had nicked the ball even as the umpire gave not out initially.
Pujara, India's rock at No.3, was undone by another Roach beauty as the ball moved marginally after hitting the deck to take the outside edge of the bat and fly to wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
Kohli hit two boundaries and raced to nine from 12 deliveries before Gabriel set him up with two bouncers to ruffle the ace batsman. In the third ball, Kohli picked out debutant Shamarh Brooks at gully trying to cut another bouncer over point region.
India, playing their first match of the World Test Championship, were in all sorts of trouble when vice-captain Rahane joined Rahul in the middle and the pair added 43 runs for the fourth wicket.
Rahul struck four boundaries and looked good while Rahane was all about graft, trying to hold one end together and avoid further damage. West Indies captain Jason Holder had won the toss and chose to field first after toss was delayed due to a passing shower.
India captain Virat Kohli said they would have batted anyway. India made no change to the team that played last seven months ago in Australia with R Ashwin losing out to Ravindra Jadeja in the spin department. Hanuma Vihari was chosen over Rohit Sharma.
Brief scores: India 1st innings: 68/3 in 24 overs (KL Rahul 37 batting, Ajinkya Rahane 10 (Kemar Roach 2/12) vs West Indies

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Shooting: Aligarh's Areeba finishes 24th in Women’s Skeet at Shotgun World Cup

Aligarh-based promising youngster Areeba Khan, with a total of 109, finished with a creditable 24th rank in the women's skeet at the Shotgun World Cup at Lahti, Finland on Thursday.
Areeba finished with a round of 24 out of 25 to be short of the top score of 118,  recorded by American Caitlin Connor, by nine hits.
In the process,the young Indian, still not out of the junior ranks and making her debut in the senior ISSF World Cup, repeated her qualifying round score of 109 from the Shotgun World Championship at Lonato, Italy, earlier this year, but improved her position considerably with a 24th rank finish.
Meng Wei of China won the gold with a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota to boot in the event. The second quota place went to Germany’s Nele Wissmer who finished fifth.
Areeba's teammates Saniya Sheikh and Kartikki Singh Shaktawat returned scores of 98 and 96 and were placed  63rd and 65th, respectively.
In Men’s Skeet, the Indian trio of Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Anantjeet Singh Naruka and Angad Veer Singh Bajwa were placed 64th, 73rd and 91st with scores of 46, 45 and 44,respectively, after two rounds of qualification.

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Chidambaram arrested in INX Media case, taken to CBI HQ

Senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in the INX Media case in a swift operation on Wednesday night, minutes after he reached his Jor Bagh home in Delhi following a dramatic appearance at a press conference at the Congress headquarters.
Congress leader P. Chidambaram addressing a press conference at the party's headquarters in New Delhi on August 21, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Congress leader P. Chidambaram addressing a press conference at the party's headquarters in New Delhi on August 21, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media case in a swift operation on Wednesday night, minutes after he reached his Jor Bagh home following a dramatic appearance at a press conference at the Congress headquarters.
Chidambaram was seated in the middle of a white car with CBI personnel sitting on either side as he was driven straight to the agency's headquarters, located barely a few kilometres away from his house.
Sources said CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla himself was present at the headquarters along with top officers for the questioning of the former Minister. After completing the formalities, Chidambaram was arrested and will be produced in court on Thursday.
The moment Chidambaram arrived at his home from the press conference at the Congress headquarter on Akbar Road, the CBI personnel scaled walls and entered the premises.
A small group of slogan-shouting Congress workers were contained by Delhi Police personnel from posing any obstructions. The entire operation was swiftly executed within half an hour of his arrival in Jor Bagh.
Sources said that a team of lawyers was present with Chidambaram at the time when he was taken into custody.
A team of CBI personnel had been keeping surveillance outside Chidambaram's house ever since the Delhi High Court denied his anticipatory bail on Tuesday. The CBI team could not find him home but they swarmed the area keeping a vigil on the visitors.
Earlier, Chidambaram, who surfaced dramatically at the party headquarters Wednesday evening, said he was "not hiding from the law but seeking the protection of the law" and hoped the investigating agencies "will respect the law".
"I was aghast that I was accused of hiding from the law. On the contrary, I was seeking the protection of the law. I was accused of running away from justice. On the contrary, I was engaged in the pursuit of justice," Chidambaram told reporters.
He said he would wait till Friday, when the Supreme Court had decided to hear his plea against his arrest.
"In the INX media case, I have not been accused of any offence, nor is anyone else, including any member of my family been accused of any offence. In fact, there is no charge sheet filed by either the CBI or the ED before a competent court. And statements recorded by the CBI does not impute to me any wrongdoing. Yet there is a widespread impression that grave offences have been committed, and my son and I have committed those offences.
"Nothing can be further from the truth. These are lies spread by pathological liars. When I was summoned by the CBI and then the ED to appear for questioning, I naturally sought interim protection against the arrest from the competent court. I was granted interim protection. I have enjoyed the interim protection for the last 13-15 months. The matters were finally heard.
"I was not hiding but I was working alongside my lawyers throughout the night and today to prepare the papers. We completed the task only this morning.
"My lawyers have told me that despite their impassioned pleas, the cases were not listed today, nor will they be listed tomorrow, but will only be listed on Friday. I bow down to the orders of the Supreme Court. 
"Between now and Friday I shall walk with a clear conscience and my head held high. I shall respect the law even if it is applied with an unequal hand by the investigating agencies," he said.
"In the name of freedom I can only hope and pray that the investigating agencies will respect the law. In the present circumstances, respect for law can only mean one thing: Await the decision of the Supreme Court on Friday.
"Some days ago when I spoke in Parliament, I had said that every judge in this country will uphold the liberty of a citizen. I had said that the collective conscience and the institutional memory of the court as a venerable institution will guide all judges of the country as much as I believe in liberty.I also believe in the wisdom of our judges. So friends, until Friday and beyond. There is hope that the lamp of liberty will shine bright and illuminate the whole country," he added.
After the press conference, he returned to his Jor Bagh residence. Minutes later, dramatic scenes were witnessed as a CBI team scaled the wall of his residence.
A team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) also followed to arrest the senior Congress leader who was at his house along with a battery of lawyers, including Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
On January 25, the Delhi High Court had reserved order on Chidambaram's bail plea in the case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The agencies had opposed Chidambaram's bail plea, saying his custodial interrogation was necessary as he was evasive and had given false information during questioning.
On Tuesday, the high court had rejected Chidambaram's plea.

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Sindhu moves into third round of BWF World Championships

Ace shuttler P V Sindhu got off to a winning start in her opening match in the women's second round of the BWF World Championships here on Wednesday.
The two-time silver medalist outwitted Chinese Taipei's Pai Yu Po 21-14, 21-15 in a contest where she had to work hard for her win.
Sindhu, who had reached the finals of Indonesia Open last month, looked good in the second round tie after getting a bye in the opening round.
Sindhu will now take on Beiwen Zhang of USA, who defeated Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen of Australia in straight games 21-14, 21-13.
In the match on Wednesday, Sindhu dominated the first game to take a 11-7 lead at the break and then grab six game points to close it with a cross court return as Pai erred at the backline.
Pai came back to enter the break at 11-10 in the second game due to Sindhu's unforced errors, but the Olympic silver medalist came out stronger after the interval and win 21-14.
Meanwhile, the Indian duo of Jakkapudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram lost 8-21, 18-21 to Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto of Japan in the women's doubles competition.

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Women’s Hockey: India beat Japan 2-1 to win Olympic Test Event

Navjot Kaur and Lalremsiami scored a goal in each half as India pipped Japan 2-1 to win the Women's Hockey Olympic Test Event here at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.
Navjot Kaur put India ahead in the 11th minute and Lalremsiami again gave the winners the lead in the 33rd minute while Japan's only goal came in  the 12th minute through Minami Shimizu.
It was a great first quarter for both the teams in the attacking department as they both scored a goal each. It was India who dominated the first 10 minutes, and finally managed to find the breakthrough in the 11th minute when a brilliant team-move saw Navjot Kaur put her team ahead.
The forward kept her nerve under pressure, and produced a fine finish in front of the goal to make it a great start for the World No. 10 team. However, the next minute saw Japan strike back immediately with a well-crafted field goal which was put into the back of the net by Minami Shimizu to make it 1-1.
The second quarter saw both the teams focus on their defensive structure, and tread carefully in the attacking third. India had a few chances in the first few minutes, with the likes of Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur combining well on the attacking front, but could not produce a goal-scoring opportunity.
Japan also tried to create some opportunities of their own, with goalscorer Shimizu coming close to scoring her second of the match, but India defended well to make sure that the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.
It was an aggressive start from the Indian team after the half-time break as they won themselves a Penalty Corner in the 33rd minute. India's prolific drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur stepped up to take the execution, but her shot was saved by the Japanese goalkeeper Megumi Kageyama, but the rebound fell to forward Lalremsiami, who did not make a mistake in putting the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
It was a huge blow to the hosts who were finding it difficult to cope with India's rhythm, but after some tough battles in the midfield, the home team earned themselves back-to-back penalty corners in the 42nd minute. However, India's defence was up to the task, and made sure that they protected their lead. India also had a penalty corner in the 45th minute, but could not extend their lead.
India's task in the last quarter was to retain their lead, while Japan seemed determined to find the equalizer. It was a nervous last quarter for both the teams as there was pressure of a final.
The first chance of the last quarter fell to India who had an opportunity to make it 3-1 but could not make the most of it as Kageyama made a diving save. 
The situation became quite tense for both the teams in the last few minutes of the match, and Japan won themselves back-to-back penalty corners, but goalkeeper Savita made a great save on the second attempt to make sure that India saw out a 2-1 win.

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India men thrash NZ 5-0 to win Olympic Test Event

The Indian men's hockey team avenged their round-robin league-stage loss as they thrashed New Zealand 5-0 in the final to win the Olympic Test Event at the Oi Stadium on Wednesday.
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh (7') set the ball rolling before Shamsher Singh (18'), Nilakanta Sharma (22'), Gursahibjit Singh (26') and Mandeep Singh (27') scored for the Men in Blue. 
India and New Zealand began the match on a cautious note by turning over the ball in the midfield region. India won a penalty corner in the seventh minute, but couldn't capitalise on the opportunity. 
However, Harmanpreet didn't miss out on a penalty corner when it was re-awarded to India. The Indian skipper executed a perfect dragflick to put India in the lead. 
The Indian team continued to hold possession and put tremendous pressure on the New Zealand defence as they ended the first quarter at 1-0.
India didn't let the momentum shift as Shamsher scored India's second goal through a penalty corner in the 18th minute. New Zealand managed to make only two circle entries in the second quarter as the Indian team scored three more goals. 
Nilakanta found the back of the net in the 22nd minute before Gursahibjit and Mandeep scored in quick succession. Vivek Prasad intercepted the ball brilliantly to assist a goal for Gursahibjit and Mandeep converted a penalty corner just before the half-time whistle. India completely dominated the match with the scoreline reading 5-0. 
After an action-packed first half, the intensity dropped from both the sides. New Zealand tried to make a few inroads in the third quarter. They took a shot in the 37th minute which went wide of the post and Jarmanpreet Singh saved a penalty corner in the next minute. India and New Zealand played out a goalless quarter as the former held the lead at 5-0.
The Indian team ensured that they stayed in the lead in the last quarter. They didn't allow New Zealand to break through their defence throughout the match. India's attacking approach in the match paid off as they walked off the pitch as winners of the competition.

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Shooting: Areeba Khan best-placed Indian in Women’s Skeet Competition in World Cup

Areeba Khan shot rounds of 18, 24 and 22 for a total of 64, and was the best-placed Indian, finishing day one of the Women’s Skeet competitions at 29th position at the ISSF World Cup Shotgun in Lahiti, Finland on Tuesday.
Areeba’s compatriots Kartikki Singh Shaktawat and Saniya Sheikh shot scores of 58 and 57 to end further back in 58th and 65th spots, respectively, as they look ahead on Wednesday, the final day of qualifiers which will be followed by the final on the same day.
The USA’s Caitlin Connor was on top of the 72-strong field with a score of 73. 
The Men’s Skeet competitions will also commence on Wednesday.

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Men’s Hockey: India trounce Japan 6-3 for place in final of Olympic Test Event

Riding on Mandeep Singh's hat-trick, India thrashed hosts Japan 6-3  to enter the final of the Men's Olympic Test Event Hockey at the Oi Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.
With this win, India finished second on the points table. They will now face New Zealand in the final on Wednesday.
Putting behind their shock 1-2 loss against New Zealand in the second match, India played an aggressive game to outplay Japan. Mandeep Singh (9', 29', 30'), Nilakanta Sharma (3'), Nilam Sanjeep Xess (7') and Gurjant Singh (41') scored for the winners, while Kentaro Fukuda (25'), Kenta Tanaka (36') and Kazuma Murata (52') scored the goals for Japan.
Sharma got India off to an excellent start through a field goal in the third minute. The Indian team put tremendous pressure on the Japan defence as Gurjant Singh took a shot on goal, but saw his shot going wide of the post. However, a penalty corner was awarded to India in the 7th minute which was converted brilliantly by Nilam Sanjeep Xess to help the team take a 2-0 lead. 
India continued to take the aggressive approach and a few minutes later, Mandeep Singh found the back of the net with an excellent field goal in the 9th minute. Japan tried to make inroads in the last few minutes of the first quarter as they won a penalty corner. Gurinder Singh positioned himself brilliantly and defended the shot on the goal line. India led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
India continued their attacking game in the second quarter with Jarmanpreet Singh taking a shot on goal, but putting it wide of the post. Captain Harmanpreet Singh had a shot on target, but the Japanese Goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa pulled off a brilliant save.
Japan managed to open their account through a field goal by Kentaro Fukuda in the 25th minute, but Mandeep Singh scored two field goals in quick succession to help India take a massive lead at 5-1. The Indian vice-captain scored just before the half-time whistle in the 29th and 30th minutes.
Japan started the third quarter on an aggressive note. They took a shot on goal, which was blocked out brilliantly by goalkeeper Krishan Pathak. However, the Japanese team kept putting pressure on the Indian defence unit and found a field goal through Kenta Tanaka in the 36th minute. India didn't let the momentum shift towards the Japanese side as forward Gurjant Singh found the back of the net in the 41st minute to make it 6-2 which put the World No. 5 side in a dominant position at the end of the third quarter.
Japan attacked the Indian defence in the the fourth quarter and scored their third goal through Kazuma Murata in the 52nd minute. India were awarded a penalty corner with five minutes left on the clock, but the shot went wide of the post.
India saved a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match and ensured their place in the final against New Zealand.

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Women's Hockey: India hold China to goalless draw, makes it to final of Olympic Test Event

Goalkeeeper Savita brought off some stunning saves as India held China to a goalless draw and made it to the final of the Women's Hockey Olympic Test Event at the Oi Stadium here on Tuesday.
With a tally of five points from  three matches, India topped the points table, and will now face hosts and World No. 14 Japan in the final Wednesday.
The Indian girls  looked in good rhythm during the initial stages of the first quarter, and constantly built pressure on the Chinese defence. The World No. 10 side looked comfortable in possession, and rotated the ball well to threaten their opponents in the opening 10 minutes, which also reflected when they won their first penalty corner of the match in the 8th minute. 
India's penalty corner expert Gurjit Kaur stepped up to take the set-piece, but could not find the back of the net as Chinese goalkeeper Dongxiao Li deflected the ball away from danger. China looked to attack the Indians on the counter, but could not find an opening in the first quarter as the scores remained 0-0.
India started the second quarter also with great attacking flair, and won themselves their second penalty corner in the 17th minute. Gurjit Kaur tried to aim for the other side this time, but her try was again denied by Li. 
The following minutes saw both the teams battle it out in midfield, with neither team giving much space and time to their opponents in the final third. Some impressive performances in defence for both the teams meant that it remained goalless at the half-time break.
China needed the victory to make sure that they progress to the final of the competition but India's defence was up to the task, and seemed determined to consolidate their position at the top of the points table. 
The third quarter saw China coming close to taking the lead in the 41st minute through their first penalty corner, but goalkeeper Savita made a great save to deny her opponents, and the defence cleared the ball. It was a moment which could have turned the match around, but the 29-year-old Indian made sure that China could not take an important lead.
A similar moment took place in the last quarter as well when China were awarded their second penalty corner in the 47th minute, and Savita came to team's rescue again and denied the rivals a chance to score.
India also had a few chances to take the lead in the following minutes, but could not find the breakthrough as the Chinese defended well. The situation became quite tense for both the teams in the last few minutes of the match, but it was China who won themselves back-to-back penalty corners with just two minutes remaining on the clock. 
However, the Indian defence stood up to the task and managed to block the first attempt, and then Savita saved the second  penalty corner  to earn her team a much deserved draw, and with it, a place in the final.

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Bajrang Punia, Deepa Malik chosen for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

Wrestler Bajrang Punia and para-athlete Deepa Malik have been chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country's sporting honour, for the year 2019.
In the National Sports Awards 2019 announced here today, as many as 19 players were chosen for the prestigious Arjuna Awards, including cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Poonam Yadav; footballer Gurpreet Singh  Sandhu; badminton star B Sai Praneeth; table tennis player Harmeet Desai and shooter Anjum Moudgil.
Others chosen for the awards include athletes Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Mohammed Anas Yahiya and Swapna Barman; body-builder S. Bhaskaran; boxer Sonia Lather; hockey player Chingensana Singh Kangujam and kabaddi player Ajay Thakur.
Also in the list are Gaurav Singh Gill (Motor Sports), Pramod Bhagat (Para Sports-Badminton), Pooja Dhanda (Wrestling), Fouaad Mirza (Equestrian), Sundar Singh Gurjar (Para Sports - Athletics) and Simran Singh (Polo).
The Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime contribution to sports development will be given to Manuel Fredricks (Hockey), Arup Basak (Table Tennis), Manoj Kumar (Wrestling), Nitten Kirrtane (Tennis) and C Lalremsanga (Archery).
The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, given to corporate entities and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development, will go this year to Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation and GoSports Foundation (Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent) and Rayalaseema Development Trust (Sports for Development).
The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy, given to the overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments, will go to Panjab University, Chandigarh.
The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 29.
Apart from a medal and a citation, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee will receive a cash prize of Rs. 7.5 lakh. The Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awardees will receive statuettes, certificates and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh each. A trophy and citation is given to the entity in the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, 2019. Recipients of Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar will be given trophies and certificates. Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments will be given MAKA Trophy, award money of Rs. 10 lakh and a certificate.
The National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years, Arjuna Award is given for consistently outstanding performance for four years, Dronacharya Award for coaches is given for producing medal winners at prestigious International sports events. Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime contribution to sports development and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar are given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development. Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments is given Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy.
An official press release said that a large number of nominations were received for these awards this year, which were considered by the Selection Committees consisting of former Arjuna Awardees, Dronacharya Awardees, Sport Journalists, Experts, Commentators and Sports Administrators. The Selection Committee for the Sports Awards 2019 was headed by Justice Mukundakam Sharma, Retired Judge, Supreme Court.

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Squash: Yoshna Singh in line for a double

Yoshna Singh (Maharashtra) continued her fine run as she won the U-19 and Women’s Open semi-finals of the Western Slam (Junior) and 44th Maharashtra State Senior Open Squash Tournament played at the Bombay Gymkhana Squash Courts on Tuesday.
Yoshna, who is unseeded in the Girls U-19 category, faced a tough challenge from 3rd seed Amita Gondi of Telangana, who rallied from two games down to take the match into the decider. However, Yoshna kept her nerves and made no mistakes in the final game to take the match 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6. 
Later in the Women’s open tie, Yoshna made short work of her state mate Akanksha Rao, winning 11-3, 11-1, 11-6 to make it to the finals.
In the Boy’s U-19 tie, while Yash Fadte managed to edge past Prithivi Singh with ease, unseeded Neel Joshi had to fight hard to upset 2nd seed Rahul Baitha 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 to advance to the finals. 
In the Men’s Open, 2nd seed Abhishek Pradhan was stretched to his limits before he triumphed over Abhay Singh, winning  9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5 to set up a title clash with top seed Mahesh Mangaonkar, who was clinical in his 13-11, 11-6, 11-3 win over Abhishek Agarwal.
Girls U-19 Semi-Finals
Yoshna Singh bt Amita Gondi [3/4] 11-7 11-6 9-11 6-11 11-6; Amira Singh [2] bt Anannya Morey 11-4 11-2 11-7    
Boy’s U-19 Semi-Finals
Yash Fadte [1] bt Prithvi Singh [5/8] 11-3 11-7 11-8; Neel Joshi bt Rahul Baitha [2] 9-11 11-9 11-8 11-7                                                       
Women’s Open Semi-Finals      
Yoshna Singh [5/8] bt Aakanksha Rao [5/8] 11-3 11-1 11-6; Tanvi Khanna [2] bt Sachika Balvani [3/4] 11-2 11-2 11-3
Men’s Open Semi-Finals
Mahesh Mangaonkar [1] bt Abhishek Agarwal [3/4] 13-11 11-6 11-3; Abhishek Pradhan [2] bt Abhay Singh [3/4] 9-11 11-9 11-4 4-11 11-5

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Kohli close to equalling Dhoni's Test captaincy record

Virat Kohli (File photo: IANS)
Virat Kohli (File photo: IANS)
Virat Kohli is one win away from equalling MS Dhoni's record of most wins as Indian Test captain. The 30-year-old currently has 26 wins from 46 matches while his predecessor had 27 wins in 60.
Kohli took over as captain of the Indian Test team when Dhoni retired from the longest format of the game during the tour of Australia in 2014. He has since led India to victories over Australia, England and New Zealand at home and 2-1 and 4-1 losses in South Africa and England respectively. 
In 2018, Kohli led India to their first ever series win in Australia. A dominant Indian team beat Australia 3-1 to seal a historic win. 
Moreover, Kohli has switched gears with the bat since taking over the reins. He is the highest run scorer as captain for India with 4515 runs at a mind-numbing average of 62.7. He has scored 18 centuries in this period. 
The first Test against West Indies marks the two teams' entry into the ICC World Test Championship. It will be played in North Sound, Antigua and starts on August 22. 

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Sreesanth's ban to end in August 2020: Ombudsman

File photo of S. Sreesanth
File photo of S. Sreesanth.
Observing that Indian pacer S. Sreesanth has undergone a ban for alleged spot-fixing for almost six years, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ombudsman, Justice (retd) D. K. Jain has ordered the restriction to end in August 2020.
"Sreesanth is already facing a ban, for almost a period of six years now, which bars him from playing cricket or participating in any event, with which the BCCI is, directly or indirectly, associated.
"Even otherwise, for Mr. Sreesanth, who is now in his late thirties, his prime years as a cricketer, particularly as a fast bowler may already be over.
"Bearing in mind, all these factors, I am of the view that banning Sreesanth from participating in any kind of commercial cricket or from associating with any activities of the BCCI or its affiliates, for a period of seven years with effect from September 13, 2013, i.e. the date from which the period of ban imposed by the Disciplinary Committee had commenced, will meet the ends of justice," the Ombudsman said in his August 7 order.
The BCCI had banned Sreesanth for life in August 2013 for his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the 2013 Indian Premier League.
On March 15, the Supreme Court had quashed the BCCI disciplinary committee's order that imposed a life ban on Sreesanth and directed the committee to take action.
At this, the BCCI had told the court that since its disciplinary committee, which had dealt with Sreesanth's matter, was not operational any more, the matter should be decided by the ombudsman appointed by the Supreme Court.
In April, the apex court had given the ombudsman three months to decide on the quantum of punishment.
It had also said that its decision shall not have a bearing on the criminal proceedings pending against Sreesanth in the Delhi High Court.
The Delhi Police had moved the High Court against a trial court order which discharged all the accused, including Sreesanth, in the IPL spot-fixing scandal. 
Earlier, a single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had struck down the life ban imposed on the cricketer by the BCCI and also quashed all proceedings against him. However, a division bench of the Kerala High Court restored the ban.
Sreesanth moved the Supreme Court against the order.

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Kerala to host Nehru Trophy Boat Race on August 31

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race and the first race of the maiden Champions Boat League (CBL) will be held on August 31.
Both the events were to be flagged off on August 10 but were postponed due to floods during the last fortnight.
Kerala Tourism today said the first race of the CBL will be held on the sidelines of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race at the sprawling Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha city.
Tourism Director  P Bala Kiran said the schedule of the remaining 11 races of the CBL, the country’s first-ever boat racing patterned on the IPL format of cricket, will be announced soon.
Nine teams are to vie for top honours and prize monies totalling Rs 5.9 crore at the CBL.
The participating teams remain the same: Tropical Titans (traditionally, Village Boat Club), Backwater Knights (Village Boat Club), Backwater Ninja (Brothers Boat Club), Backwater Warriors (Town Boat Club), Coast Dominators (United Boat Club), Mighty Oars (NCDC), Pride Chasers (Vembanad Boat Club), Raging Rowers (Police Boat Club) and Thunder Oars (KBC/SFBC).
While the first three winners of each CBL match will get Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively, all participants are to win a bonus prize of Rs 4 lakh for each match.
The overall CBL league winner after the accumulation of all the points from the 12 races will get a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh, while those finishing second and third will get Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively.
The races, being held from 2 pm to 5 pm, will be broadcast live.  Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Asianet Worldwide, Asianet Plus, Hotstar, ETV Andhra Pradesh and ETV Telangana will beam the event for an hour from 4 pm.

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